TMT in Colombia
‘Top notch’, Brigard Urrutia’s telecoms team is led by Sergio Michelsen, a noted figure with over 30 years’ experience who has been involved in the majority of the relevant public-bidding processes in the telecoms and television sectors, as well as all the relevant regulatory changes in the area. Senior associate Andrea Bonnet and associate Juan Nicolás Laverde are also key members of the five-strong team, which also advises both national and international telecoms, satellite and television services providers on entry into the Colombian market. The practice group also acts on cybersecurity matters, and entertainment and sports law. Ongoing matters include assisting Hughes Network Systems in connection with the provision of a satellite-enabled broadband internet access service; issues dealt with over the last year include the structuring of subscriber agreements, consumer protection actions and permit procedures. The company’s proposed activities, a novelty in the Colombian context, have also led the team to work closely with the relevant regulatory bodies. Other work included acting for Google on the successful annulment of a Constitutional Court ruling that required the company, as the owner of the site “Blogger.com”, to take down its content. The team also advised Citibank on the data-privacy implications of the transferral of the personal information of clients, employees and suppliers, as part of the firm’s broader advice on the sale of the client’s consumer-banking business to Scotiabank. Other mandates included advising Fox Channels in relation to the deployment of its over-the-top (OTT) platform, which bypasses traditional distribution by providing services over the internet, and assisting Worldpay with online gambling regulatory matters. Clients include Sony Pictures Entertainment, Intelsat, HarperCollins, Apple and Banco Davivienda.
The practice at Baker McKenzie S.A.S. is led by Carolina Pardo, a ‘top lawyer in the sector’ who is praised for her ‘deep knowledge’, ‘pragmatism’ and ‘for taking personal care of the clients'’ needs. The seven-strong team has, however, seen considerable movement of late: the December 2018 arrival of associates Laura Botero (who was previously in-house at Colombia Móvil for four years) and Juan José Reyes (who re-joined the firm after a year studying for an MBA) was followed by the departures of associates Sandra Castillo (a data protection specialist) and Rodrigo Millan (who moved to Cosargo), as well as that of senior associate Carlos Castellanos, who moved in house at Cullen International. Associate Mariana Camacho is also noted. Recent mandates saw the team advise AT&T Services on obtaining permits for the development of its telecoms activities in the country, including issues such as submarine cabling and voice over IP (VoIP), and Telcordia Technologies on its bid for number portability implementation in Colombia, a process that guarantees the right that users have regarding their mobile phone numbers. Other highlights included advising Abbott Laboratories regarding personal data issues and the company’s strategies for protecting the data of its clinical trial subjects, and assisting Boston Scientific with the legal implications of the differences between the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Colombia’s local data protection regulations. Clients include Fedex, Mazda, Accuro and Sprint.
Durán & Osorio Abogados Asociados is a firm with ‘a very deep knowledge’ of regulatory issues in the telecoms sector and provides ‘business-oriented answers’. Clients appreciate the firm’s ‘constant efforts to understand our business’, and that the team is ‘always reachable and available’ and gives ‘quick answers’. With close to 20 years’ sector experience, Carlos Andrés Sánchez (whose ‘practical vision helps in the process of finding a solution or a strategy for any given issue’) heads the seven-strong practice, with managing partner Álvaro Durán and Gustavo Osorio also key senior team members. The firm advises Level 3 Communications (now Century Link) on a regular basis; it advised the company on its merger with Century Link, including competition-authority clearance; its data protection policy and the drafting of a data-protection manual based on the accountability of all the staff members; and the calculation of regulatory fees payable to the Communications Ministry. Other work saw the team advise Runt on contract compliance and representation in litigation regarding the databases of the national registry of transportation, and assist Echostar Corporation with various TMT matters, including the registration of a satellite in the Andean satellite registry. Other clients include Microsoft and Arus.
With a team that is ‘very proactive when solving difficult cases’ and that ‘always has the best solution for the client’, Gómez-Pinzón Abogados (GPA)’s TMT practice is ‘excellent’; it also advises on all major areas of data protection and information privacy. With over 25 years’ experience, the highly regarded Mauricio Jaramillo heads the six-strong team. The hire of senior associate Andrés Fernández De Castro, who has experience acting on contractual, contentious and regulatory matters for telecoms clients, as well as of an additional associate, has ensured continued strength despite the departure of former senior associate July Galindo to undertaken an LLM. The team continues to advise Google on multiple issues concerning its operations in the country, with matters including advice in relation to data protection and online intermediary liability, and on different technology matters regarding the company’s online tools and their administration. Other work saw the team advise Honeywell on its registration as an authorised satellite capacity provider in Colombia, and assisting project Construya, a web platform technology initiative developed by Cementos Argos to promote and consolidate its goods and consumer/client network. Cisco, Schlumberger Surenco, Bancoomeva and PayU Colombia are also on the team’s client roster.
CMS Rodríguez-Azuero enters the rankings in the wake of its incorporation of data protection and IP specialist Lorenzo Villegas Carrasquilla, who has over 18 years’ experience, half of it at his former, eponymous boutique Lorenzo Villegas Consultores. Villegas receives excellent feedback from clients and peers alike, who point to his ‘expertise’ – in particular in e-commerce - ‘seniority’ and ‘attitude’. The team, now four strong, ‘is highly business oriented and provides innovative solutions’; moreover, ‘its response time and availability are excellent’. 2018 mandates saw the group undertake negotiations with third parties regarding personal data protection, handle issues involving e-commerce business channels, and provide advice on topics related to telecoms and radio broadcasting. Clients include Falabella, Google, Adobe, Aon, Publicis and Avianca.
Specialising in regulatory topics regarding telecoms, data protection, entertainment, media and copyright, as well as contractual issues, Lloreda Camacho & Co..’s long-established practice is recommended for ‘providing timely, high-quality and knowledgeable advice’. Practice head Gustavo Tamayo, who has over 30 years’ experience in the sector, is supported by key senior associate Juan Manuel Ojeda, who specialises in telecoms and new technologies’ regulation; senior associate Maria Alejandra De Los Ríos, who focuses on data protection and privacy issues, is also a key team member. The practice is the primary adviser to Colombian telecoms provider Claro (part of América Móvil), which has a major market share; most recently the team represented the client in administrative proceedings before the Colombian Ministry of Information and Communications Technologies regarding alleged infringements of Colombia’s telecom interconnection regime. Other work saw the team advise Teleset on the registration of its new satellite service offering before the Telecommunications Ministry, as well as advising the client – and Star One (Embratel) – in relation to the legal and regulatory duties of satellite capacity providers. Other clients include Ocesa, Andean Towers, Sonovista Publicidad, Herbalife and Ticket Colombia.
International companies value Muñoz Tamayo & Asociados’ local expertise and attention to their requirements when entering Colombia’s TMT, start-up and media markets. The five-strong practice, led by Felipe Trías in conjunction with senior associate Fernando Bermúdez, recently acted as lead counsel to Comware in a contractual dispute arising from two government contracts for the development and operation of a state programme to provide network connectivity to remote areas of the country. Having assisted Kushki with establishing a payment platform in Colombia over the last few years, the team continues to act for the company across a wide range of matters. Other mandates included advising a client in relation to potential claims due to a software licensing infraction. Additional clients include Aucerna, Alpha 4 Ventures, Informática Tesi and Digital Bridge Holdings.
Posse Herrera Ruiz's seven strong team is led by ‘well-known figures’ Ernesto Cavalier and Andrés Montoya, and is particularly active in relation to contractual agreements such as outsourcing contracts between corporations and software developers or suppliers of cloud computing services. The team assisted Amazon with the drafting of a framework contract with UNE Telecommunications (Colombia’s third largest mobile phone provider), relating to communications technologies, and advised Google regarding an app (a clinical reference for skin diseases that generates statistics from a large database) that the company sought to introduce in to Colombia. Other 2018 work highlights included assisting software company Conexia regarding a contract for the provision of cloud computing services with health sector company Positiva.
BBGS ABOGADOS’ TMT practice specialises in entertainment law and in handling all aspects of commercial, privacy, contractual and intellectual property law that involve knowledge of new technologies and the legal aspects of audio-visual productions, among other matters. Able to offer integrated services in conjunction with BBGS partner firms in Mexico, Peru and Chile, the five-strong Bogotá-based team is led by Luis Felipe Barrios and Mónica Serrano. Recent matters saw the group advise Teleset regarding the pre-production, production and post-production of three TV series. Other 2018 mandates included assisting Go Digital with its acquisition of a 50% stake in certain audio-visual assets from Kapital Music and Entertainment. Other clients include Sony Pictures Television, HBO LAG and AXN Colombia Networks.
Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas is principally noted for advising telecoms and IT companies on privacy and cybersecurity matters. The practice, led by Luz Helena Adarve and Juanita Acosta, recently assisted with the implementation of a privacy project for AC Nielsen, Oracle and Ericsson. Other clients include Avantel, Ford Motors and Microsoft.
DLA Piper Martinez Beltrán has particular expertise in regulatory matters concerning the sector, litigation and TMT proceedings before the public authorities. Camilo Martínez and competition department director Maria Claudia Martínez co-lead the practice, which recently advised Sita Informational Network Computing on its registration with the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications. Other highlights saw the team assist Grupo AVAL with obtaining authorisation for the incorporation and operation of a specialised company in deposits and electronic payments from the country’s financial supervisor. Clients include RCN Radio, RCN Television, Comcel and Uber.
As well as its long-standing reputation in competition law, Esguerra Asesores Jurídicos is known for its activity in the telecoms sector, where head partners Juan Carlos Esguerra and Alfonso Miranda have both served in regulatory and legislative public entities. Recent matters saw the seven-strong practice coordinate Axesat’s interaction with governmental agencies, the ICT Ministry and the Communications Regulatory Commission, including the provision of proper response to information requirements. The team is also acting as legal counsel to BT regarding its business development in Colombia, particularly as regards carrier, connectivity and data centre services.
Marrugo Rivera Asociados
Specialist boutique Marrugo Rivera Asociados is focused principally on software regulation, data protection, and security and privacy matters. Led by Ivan Dario Marrugo, and with offices in Bogotá and Cartagena, the firm has advised on the implementation of data protection programmes for more than 100 organisations of varying sizes and from numerous sectors - particularly banking and insurance, where its clients have included Mapfre Seguros, Aseguradora Solidaria de Colombia, Seguros del Estado, and Segurexpo Banco Popular. In other work, the team is also advising Gas Natural Fenosa and its Peruvian subsidiary.
Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría provides advice on telecoms, data protection and privacy regulations, including compliance issues in connection with the collection and processing of data. Diego Cardona heads the seven-strong practice, which recently advised Visa on the design and implementation of measures to comply with data protection regulations concerning the collection and processing of data in the financial sector, and on the registration of the company’s data bases with the National Database Registry. Other clients include Mondelez, Nokia, Radio Cadena Nacional and Siemens.